Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Take Children Outside week

I just found out that last week was take children outside week. Just the very fact that we need to have a week to go outside planned for us makes me cringe a little. As parents and teachers we need to slow down and enjoy our lives. Everything is better outside, and if you have allergies and are afraid of the dirt, well then there are medicines and cleaner outside places. I grew up outside in the country, clean dirt, fresh air and lots of space to play, run, roll and later ride. My Children grew up out there too.

My son Hiking in the rain.
Playing outside is more of an adventure. There are trees and mountains to climb, trails to follow, large bodies of water to wonder at, sand to sift or build with, wide open places to run and yell in, and all sorts of living things to discover. I still love running and walking outside, rather than the chore of the treadmill. When I am running and I reach a hill I have to work so hard to get up it, but I make it! I feel so proud and wonderful after that hill challenge! Just the other day I saw a new natural phenomenon when two hawks were squawking more than I have ever heard, it appeared that they were chasing some buzzards out of their territory. I had never seen this behavior before; I wish I could have shared this with my students. Most large cities have wild like parks to explore. Exploring as a child builds many of the skills we need for an unknown future. Skills like creative problem solving, reversal, collaboration, and of course physical ability.

A hike on Mount Diablo, in Ca
Any time outside is a learning experience or adventure, when seen through the eyes of a child. Children find magic in the mundane; even a walk around the block can create vivid ideas. I remember living in Huntsville Alabama, it was winter and we were cooped up in a RV with 4 adults and 3 young children (a story for another blog). It was snowing hard and school was canceled.  I took the children on a walk to a nearby store, but it was an adventure. We pretended we were running away to a huge fancy hotel. Dunstan Checks In was their favorite movie at the time so we always wanted to run away to a fancy hotel in New York that had room service. That was most likely the best trip to the store I have ever taken. We hid and ducked around snow-covered obstacles, made a run for it when there was no cover, and even stopped to make snow angels. By the time we got back we were ready for MY favorite part of snow season, Hot cocoa!

Ready for some Hot Cocoa!

I hope you remember to take your children out, no matter the weather, no matter the seemingly routine walk, the outdoors are an adventure worth sharing with your children. 

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